Red hats off to these purple-clad ladies

Purple-robed, red-hatted women – such as this Rutland, Vt., group visiting the State House in Montpelier – are joining forces around the world, taking their inspiration from Jenny Joseph's 1961 poem "Warning." The poem – which begins, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple/With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me...." – celebrates aging with attitude.

Several years ago, Sue Ellen Cooper of Fullerton, Calif., inadvertently founded the first "Red Hat Society," when she and friends dressed up in purple and red and went out for tea. Since their group was featured in Romantic Homes Magazine in 2000, hundreds of chapters – boasting names like "Red Hat Dixie Cup Divas" and "El Rojo Sombreros" – have been springing up from Texas to Tasmania.

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